Leah and Darin dancing in their wedding attire in front of a mountain range in Iceland

How to Elope in Iceland

Iceland is unconventional. In Summer, the sun sets at 3 AM. In Winter, bright waves of light dance through the night sky. Massive, glistening chunks of ice drift off the coast, thousands of sheep roam its remote lands, and lava fields run through its highlands. Iceland makes you feel alive. Eloping is unconventional. You wear dirty hiking boots with a bright white dress or tux, read vows at the top of a mountain, and ride off into the Sunset in a Defender. Eloping makes you feel alive. An Iceland elopement is for the unconventional, adventurous lovers that want a ceremony location just as norm-defying as eloping. I’ve written the ultimate guide on planning an Iceland Elopement, highlighting what makes Iceland so unique, with sustainability and safety in mind. 

The Best Time To Celebrate Your Iceland Elopement

Iceland has so many seasonal activities and offerings. In late Summer or early Fall, the weather is at its best. A great time for hiking, waterfall hopping, and 4×4 exploring. Fall brings the Northern Lights, whale watching, and autumn colors. Winter is best for glacier exploration, holiday markets, and snowmobile tours. In late Spring, Iceland’s beautiful landscape is in full bloom, with lots of greenery and warmer temperatures. With all its beauty, it’s no wonder Iceland sees over 1 million tourists visit annually (with numbers continuing to grow each year). Avoiding peak days and times can help combat crowd levels.

Time of Year – Late Summer | Early Fall

August and September are the best months to visit for your Iceland Elopement. The Midnight Sun gives the island 14-16 hours of daylight instead of long, bright “nights” like in June. This shift makes room for deep, dark night skies, perfect for stargazing and watching the Northern Lights. While the weather is unpredictable year-round in Iceland, temperatures are, on average, very comfortable during August and September. There are also many activities available during this time of year, from river rafting to sea kayaking, whale watching, puffin spotting, camping, hiking, festivals, and more! You and your partner won’t run out of things to do and places to explore.

Time of Week 

Planning your elopement for a weekday will ensure an intimate elopement setting, as crowd levels tend to dip Monday-Thursday. 

Time of Day – Sunrise or Sunset?

Truthfully, it’s totally up to you and your partner! You can plan a Sunrise elopement that starts with a breakfast picnic or a Sunset elopement that ends with a champagne celebration. Here are some things to consider when deciding between a Sunrise or Sunset elopement:

  • What type of lighting are you going for in your pictures? This is a great question to discuss with your photographer!
  • What experience(s) do you and your partner hope to share? (ex. Glacier exploration, whale watching, or waterfall chasing)
  • Are you and your partner morning or evening people?
  • What is the weather like at sunrise/sunset during your elopement season?
  • Is ceremony privacy important to you as a couple?
Nicole and Michael after their reveal having fun looking at their outfits near a waterfall in Iceland in front of an Isak 4x4 Defender

The Best Iceland Elopement Locations

There’s an alluring beauty to Iceland’s landscape. Maybe it’s because most of the country still looks untouched by humans. I’ve explored dozens of spots around Iceland, and it’s hard to choose THE best elopement location, but I’ve narrowed it down to a few of my favourites! Here are some of the best Iceland elopement locations:

01. Glacier Lagoon – Jökulsárlón

A vast blue lagoon filled with floating icebergs and sea life. Perfect for a once-in-a-lifetime kind of elopement experience — located in southeastern Iceland. Here’s a glimpse at one of my previous glacier elopements! 

Leah and Darin holding hands and walking in front of glacier lagoon in Iceland

02. Black Sand Beach – Reynisfjara

A mysterious and cinematic beach decorated with black sand and basalt stacks. Dramatic, mistful views of volcanic rock formations out at Sea are also a dream here. The most romantic and mystifying elopement location on the island — located along the southern coast of Iceland. 

Kili and Joanna celebrating their elopement with champagne on black sand beach in Iceland

03. Diamond Beach – Breiðamerkursandur

A black sand beach that glistens and gleams with iceberg pieces that washed ashore from icebergs in Glacier Lagoon. A great elopement location filled with all the best coastal experiences Iceland has to offer — located on the southern coast of Iceland. 

Leah and Darin kissing after their elopement at Diamond beach in Iceland

04. Skógafoss 

A roaring 60m cascade that continues to free-fall, even in Winter. An ideal elopement location for an epic vow ceremony at the base of one of Iceland’s best waterfalls. Best followed up by a moderate hike along plush grass and wildflower fields to even more waterfalls — located in southern Iceland. 

Michael and Nicole holding hands in their wedding attire in front of Skogafoss waterfall in Iceland during their elopement

05. Kirkjufell 

A mountain peak at the base of the Sea, surrounded by waterfalls and vast lands where Icelandic horses roam. Perfect for a mountain view ceremony, followed by a celebratory champagne toast near a waterfall — located on the north coast of Iceland’s Snæfellsnes Peninsula.

Leah and Darin had an epic Iceland elopement where they popped champagne and said their I do's in front of the misty mountains. We then travelled to Glacier Lagoon to witness the ancient glaciers. Their love is truly so beautiful, I'll always hold that elopement day close to my heart.

06. Mælifell

A beautiful moss-covered volcano located in the Icelandic Highlands, encircled by glacial rivers and a vast volcanic rock landscape. This location is only accessible from June – September due to snowy, hazardous conditions in Winter. The rugged mountain road that leads to the base of the volcano is out of this world and perfect for adventurous elopement photos in a 4×4.  

If you’re interested in learning more about the best places to elope in Iceland, you can read my blog here!

The Best Iceland Accommodations

Whether you’re looking to unwind at a luxurious hotel, explore Route 1 in a home on wheels, or stare up at the Northern lights while lying in bed, Iceland has some of the most unbelievable accommodations in the world.  

01. Golden Circle Domes

Glamp in luxury with a night sky view from the comfort of your bed — located in Selfoss in southwestern Iceland. 

02. Fossar Cabin

Stay in a cozy A-Frame nestled near a small creek with mountain views — located in the lava fields of southern Iceland.

03. Barn House By The Sea

A modern, luxurious seaside escape (with a hot tub!) — located on the coastline of southern Iceland.

04. Campervan Iceland

Explore all the iconic Iceland scenery along Route 1 in comfort — convenient pickup and drop-off at Keflavík International Airport.

05. Design Cottage

A bright and sustainable fairytale cottage with a beautiful garden and outdoor patio — located in the small harbor town of Hafnarfjörður.

Leah and Darin had an epic Iceland elopement where they popped champagne and said their I do's in front of the misty mountains. We then travelled to Glacier Lagoon to witness the ancient glaciers. Their love is truly so beautiful, I'll always hold that elopement day close to my heart.

The Best Activities In Iceland

If you and your partner are interested in embarking on an extreme excursion like glacier exploration, we will hire a guide to go with us! Here are some of the best (and my favorite) Iceland activities:

Traveling To Iceland And Exploring The Island

Keflavík International Airport is the biggest airport in Iceland, with direct flights to and from many other countries like Canada and the United States. Couples can conveniently rent a car from on-site companies like Hertz or rent a 4×4 before heading out to explore Iceland along Route 1! 

Route 1 is the main highway that encircles Iceland, passing popular locations, accommodations, and towns along the way. In Winter, roadways will be icy, so extreme caution should be practiced when driving. High winds and other unpredictable weather hazards occur year-round and regularly create dangerous driving conditions in Iceland. It’s important to stay aware of weather conditions at all times during your visit. 

How To Find And Choose The Best Vendors For Your Iceland Elopement 

When you hire me as your elopement photographer, you’ll gain full access to a preferred, sustainable vendors list upon booking! I source and build sustainable vendor lists for all my elopement locations — from florists that plant their own flowers or source from communal gardens to plant-based caterers, local and experienced adventure guides, inclusive officiants, and more! I aim to make your elopement planning process as stress-free and streamlined as possible. 

How To Find An Elopement Photographer

Finding the best and right photographer for your Iceland elopement comes down to finding someone you and your partner trust, bond with, and connect with. You’ll be spending most of your elopement day with your photographer, so choosing someone you’d love to share your most intimate, beautiful, and love-filled moments with that day is important. 

I encourage you to sit down with your partner and list your must-haves for your elopement. Hop over to Instagram, Google, or Pinterest and start searching for photographers that travel to and are familiar with the location and style of photography you want for your dream elopement. Maybe one of those photographers is me!

After you inquire with a few photographers, schedule a phone consultation before booking.

Important Questions To Ask Your Potential Elopement Photographer

  • How would you describe your editing style?
  • What values are important to you? (Quality, Inclusivity, and Passion are GREAT values)
  • What packages do you offer?
  • How would you describe your on-site photography style? (Directive, Interactive, Posed?)
  • How many photos are delivered after our elopement? 
  • How and when do we receive sneak peek photos? 
  • Are your travel and accommodation costs included?
  • What types of albums and prints are included in your packages? 
  • How do you integrate Leave No Trace guidelines into an elopement?

Ask as many questions as possible during your consultation with photographers! Your photos will be the most valuable investment you will make when planning your elopement. You want to make sure you make the most informed decision possible before booking. This will ensure that you not only walk away with nostalgic keepsakes but also have a beautiful experience that’ll make you and your partner happy for a lifetime.

If you like my style, vibe and feel like we could be friends, you won’t just get amazing photographs of your experience. You’ll also get a cheerleader, an adventure guide, and a friend. I’ll support you and your partner through the roller coaster of emotions that come with planning an elopement. On the big day, I’ll help you and your partner be fully present with one another. It’s my job to make sure you enjoy your elopement day, so I’ll take the itinerary, watch the clock, and guide you both through the big and small events of the day. I’ll also gently nudge you into better lighting, fix flyaways, and adjust your dress or tux. Lastly, I’ll give you and your partner the space to enjoy and soak up each and every moment with each other while still capturing the small, intimate intricacies of your love.

Nicole and Michael at the basalt flats in Iceland during their elopement day

Including Family, Friends & Pets In Your Iceland Elopement

An important discussion to have with your partner during the elopement planning process is if or how you’ll include friends, family, and/or pets in your elopement. Take some time to talk over your elopement day priorities, wants, and needs so that you both have a clear vision of what your ideal elopement day will look like.

If you choose not to involve family/friends in your elopement, you may feel a little nervous when it comes time to tell them. Being nervous is totally normal! When it comes time to tell your family and friends that you’ve eloped, there are many different options. Of course, there’s always the option to tell family and friends in person or over FaceTime. BUT, one of my favourite ways couples tell family and friends they’ve eloped is through announcement cards! I offer linen print boxes that include memorable snapshots from your elopement day. Sending these to your family and friends is a meaningful way to make them feel included in your elopement experience.

If you want to include family and friends in your elopement celebration but don’t want them at the actual elopement, hosting a reception or get-together once you return from your trip is a nice option! This can look like a private, catered dinner reception in an event space or a low-key brunch at home with family and friends.

If you’d like to involve family and friends in your elopement day plans, I am happy to help plan an elopement that includes up to 8 guests. We can also include your furry friend(s) in creative ways! If your ceremony location doesn’t allow pets, don’t worry! We can arrange to celebrate with your pet(s) at an Airbnb or other pet-friendly outdoor location nearby.

Michael and Nicole after their reveal in Iceland during their elopement

How To Design Your Iceland Elopement 

The design of your Iceland elopement should be personalized to you and your partner’s styles and personalities! Don’t feel pressured to mold your elopement designs to trends and traditions. If design planning sounds stressful and you want big things like a flower arch, tablescape, or 8+ person catered dinner, consider hiring an elopement planner. I always recommend connecting with elopement planners that are experienced with planning at your elopement location. They’ll not only be connected to other vendors in the area but full of local tips and tricks too! 

How To Choose The Best Elopement Attire

In short, wear something that makes you feel beautiful, confident, and comfortable. While it may be helpful to consider terrain and weather, there are no rules when it comes to elopement attire. You can wear hiking boots and a wedding dress if you want! One of the best things about eloping is that it’s all about you and your partner, nobody else. Embrace the muddy hiking boots paired with a designer suit or wedding dress, and lean into a glamorous look with comfortable shoes. Heck, maybe you even want to go full-out and wear head-to-toe adventure gear. The choice is yours!

Leah and Darin had an epic Iceland elopement where they popped champagne and said their I do's in front of the misty mountains. We then travelled to Glacier Lagoon to witness the ancient glaciers. Their love is truly so beautiful, I'll always hold that elopement day close to my heart.

How To Make Your Iceland Elopement Official


Unlike many National Parks, Wilderness Areas, National Forests, and other public lands in North America, you can elope anywhere out in nature in Iceland without a permit. 

Marriage License

While it is possible to get legally married in Iceland as a non-resident or non-citizen, the process can be complicated. I recommend making the marriage official in your country of residence or citizenship and then flying to Iceland to celebrate with vows and adventures.

If you want to get legally married in Iceland (and have a cool Icelandic marriage certificate), here are some tips to help guide you through the process:

Eligibility Requirements

  1. ANY couple in love 18+ years or older can get married in Iceland (18+)!
  2. Neither partner can already be married to someone else. 
  3. Proof you and your partner are in Iceland legally (Visa, stamped passport, etc…)
  4. An officiant and two witnesses

Marriage License Steps

Compile and complete the following. All must be mailed at least 21 days before the ceremony date (I recommended doing it 6-8 weeks before):

  • Hjónavígsluskýrsla or Marriage Notification (to be signed by 2 friends or family members)
  • Original Copies of Birth Certificates 
  • Copies of Passports
  • Certificate of Marital Status (issued within 8 weeks of ceremony date) 
  • Iceland Itinerary (list of accommodations, locations you’re visiting, ceremony location, round-trip plane ticket proof, etc…)

May be needed:

  • If previously divorced, provide official divorce documentation
  • If widowed, provide official decedent documentation

Pack ALL original documents submitted via mail. Then, set an appointment at the district commissioner’s office in Iceland at the closest location to the ceremony spot. Here, they will review your documents and grant you a marriage license. 

To learn more about obtaining an Icelandic marriage license, click here. 

Michael and Nicole hand in hand walking on black sand beach in Iceland during their elopement wedding day

Iceland Elopement Packing Checklist

  • Passport / ID / Credit Cards / Icelandic Króna
  • Elopement Attire
  • Garment Bags (Shop here for the BEST eco-friendly garment bags)
  • Vow Books
  • Rings
  • GPS + Paper/Printed Map(s)
  • Ski Pants + Ski Coat For Glacier Exploration
  • Base Layers
  • Thermals
  • Swimsuits
  • Hiking boots
  • Jackets
  • Pants
  • Shorts
  • Long + Short Sleeved Shirts
  • Hats + Scarves + Gloves
  • Umbrella + Poncho
  • Sunglasses
  • Adaptors + Chargers 
  • First Aid Kit + Medications + Toiletries 
  • Flashlights + Headlamps 
  • Binoculars 
  • Hiking Packs
  • Snacks
  • Reusable Water Bottles

Iceland Elopement Timeline

1:30 PM: Get Ready at Airbnb

3:00 PM: Drive to Skogafoss

3:30 PM: Explore Skogafoss

4:00 PM: Drive to Reynisfjara 

5:00 PM: Vow Ceremony at Reynisfjara 

6:30 PM: Sunset Portraits

8:00 PM: Celebratory Champagne Toast 

9:30 PM: Leave for 4-Hour Northern Lights Super Jeep Tour

Accessibility In Iceland

As of October 2022, the Icelandic Tourist Board has partnered with the Housing and Construction Authority and Icelandic NGOs to address Iceland’s accessibility needs. If you or someone you know is flying into Iceland and in need of assistance, Keflavik International Airport offers MyWay, an assistance service for passengers with reduced mobility. If you or someone you know is traveling around Iceland and has accessibility needs, wheelmap.org is a great interactive map resource to help find accessible locations. Lastly, Iceland Unlimited is the first travel agency in Iceland to specialize in accessible travel and would love to partner with you or your loved one to plan a stress-free, adventurous, and accessible experience. 

Safety In Iceland

Iceland is home to many natural wonders, most of which are much bigger than ourselves. While beautiful, Iceland’s rugged coastline, glistening glaciers, desolate highlands, and ever-changing weather conditions can be unpredictable and hazardous. Through education, caution, and respect for the environment, you and your partner can enjoy all Iceland has to offer safely.

Sneaker Waves

Never turn your back to the Sea. Sneaker waves at beaches like Reynisfjara are powerful, common, and can come without warning. They’ve been known to sweep up inattentive tourists without notice. Be smart, be cautious!

Unpredictable Weather Conditions

Icelandic weather changes quickly and constantly, staying up to date on weather conditions is a must. Always travel with layers, an emergency pack, and ample water. 

Due to the unpredictability of the weather in Iceland, I recommend couples book a few days for their elopement with me just in case we run into bad weather. I also recommend you and your partner have a backup indoor ceremony location like a cute Airbnb. On your elopement trip, I’ll constantly keep an eye on the weather and communicate with you and your partner if any changes need to be made to your elopement day itinerary. Upon booking, we will discuss this more in-depth to ensure you are aware of all elopement day scenarios and options!

Risk-Filled Experiences

For multi-day or rough terrain hikes, hike with a guide or exploration group that is professionally trained in exploring places like glaciers, volcanoes, and remote routes. Unstable glaciers and rough terrain can lead to fatal accidents. 

Driving In Iceland

Sheep are abundant in Iceland and freely roam the island. Be alert, especially at night. Avoid driving on icy roads and during periods of high wind. Also, most rental vehicles in Iceland are manual. If you don’t know how to drive a stick shift, be sure to book an automatic vehicle. 4×4 vehicles are also a great option to help you and your partner navigate difficult and uneven terrain!

To learn more about safety when visiting Iceland, click here.

Joanna and Kili walking towards a cool mountain range after their wedding vows on their elopement day in Iceland

Leave No Trace

The beauty of eloping lies not just in the simplicity and intimacy of the experience but also within the location where it’s celebrated. We want to keep that scenery beautiful during your elopement, so generations to come can also enjoy Mother Nature and all her amazing wonders. Leave No Trace is an organization that focuses on educating people on sustainability, and I’m proud to be a Leave No Trace Aware Photographer. I’m proud to practice the 7 principles of Leave No Trace in my daily life and while I’m out adventuring with couples. I want to encourage you to do the same!

The 7 Principles:

  1. Plan Ahead & Prepare
  2. Travel & Camp on Durable Surfaces
  3. Dispose of Waste Properly
  4. Leave What You Find
  5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
  6. Respect Wildlife
  7. Be Considerate of Others

You can learn more about Leave No Trace on their website.

Ready To Plan A Dreamy Iceland Elopement?

Your dreamy Icelandic elopement is just waiting to be brought to life. If you need help kickstarting the planning process (and want to make an adventurous, down-for-anything friend at the same time), feel free to introduce yourself and your partner in my inquiry form! You can also tell me all about elopement dreams and share your love story with me. While I’m busy getting back to you, you can explore my travel page and check out one of my stunning Iceland elopement galleries here! I can’t wait to celebrate your love in an epic way in Iceland!

Joanna and Kili celebrating with their hands in the air in their isak 4x4 defender after their wedding vows on their elopement day in Iceland

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